Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators
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As a homeowner in Houston, Texas, you have a lot to worry about – yard maintenance, home repairs, weather conditions. Another thing you have to worry about: pest infestation. Termites are considered to be one of the biggest threats to your home, beating out heavy winds, flooding and fires. Every year, they cost millions, even billions of dollars’ worth of damage across the United States. Knowing how to identify termites in Houston and signs of their presence within your home, along with preventative measures that you can take to keep them out, are key to keeping your home, and your family safe. And Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators can help.
What are Termites?
Termites are small, soft bodied, insects, only ¼ to ½ inches big. They range in color from white to light brown. They look similar to ants, except that their waists are straight (rather than pinched) and they have straight, rather than bent, antennae.
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Termites live in colonies that number well into the thousands, and are divided into one of three different classes. The first, and smallest class, consists of only the king and queen. These two termites are slightly larger and darker than the rest of termites, and are responsible for populating the colony. The second class of termites consists of the soldiers. These termites are responsible for defending the colony from predators. The last, and largest class, is the workers. The worker termites are responsible for creating the tunnels, gathering food and taking care of the eggs before they hatch.
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These pests thrive on a cellulose based diet, which can be found in plants, trees, and, of course, wood. They require this food source, water, and shelter in order to survive. Termites can often be found in dead trees, lumber, logs harvested for firewood, and the wooden structures of your home. But do not think that if your home has a stone or brick exterior that you are safe from attack. They can sneak in a variety of different ways, from cracks in your foundation to the vents in your attic. And once they are inside, they can be difficult to detect, often until it is too late.
Types of Termites in Houston
There are over 2,000 different species of termites. Of those 2,000, there are three major types – subterranean termites, drywood termites and dampwood termites. Each of these termites have different needs in terms of an ideal habitat. Termite control relies heavily on knowing what makes a perfect habitat, and knowing how to prevent your home from falling victim to termite invasion.
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Subterranean termites can be found all over the United States, with the exception of Alaska. They require contact with the ground in order to survive.They build their colonies underground, and create tunnels that lead up to, and even into, their food of choice.
Both drywood termites and dampwood termites are more commonly found in the southern states. Drywood termites, unlike subterranean termites, do not require contact with the ground.They gather all the moisture they need from their food source. As such, they tend to build their homes directly in the wood. In some instances, there can be multiple colonies in the same structure.
Dampwood termites require a lot of water in order to survive.For this reason, they are more likely to be found in dead and decaying trees (stumps, limbs).They are less likely to be found in the home, unless you have suffered serious water damage, such as a flood, that has not been properly cleaned up.
Swarms of Winged Insects or Discarded Wings
In the spring, subterranean termites swarm. Several workers within a colony shed their skin and develop wings, entering an alate stage. During this stage, the alate termites leave their current colony and go out in search of a mate and a new home. When they have found their mate, and their new home, they discard their wings and seal themselves inside, becoming the king and queen of a new colony. Drywood termites swarm as well, however, their swarming period is more unpredictable. Finding swarms of winged insects near your home, or finding discarded wings on the ground is a huge sign that it’s time to call Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators for a termite inspection.
Cracks in Paint or Foundation
Termites are incredibly small, and can therefore fit into extremely small spaces, smaller than the thickness of a dime. Subterranean termites get into your home most often through wood to ground contact. This can be anything, including a doorframe, porch steps, or deck support beams. They can also get in through the tiniest of cracks in your foundation. Swarming drywood termites can get in at any level of the home, from the foundation all the way up to the roof. If there are any cracks in the siding near your roof, windows or vents, even if they are almost invisible upon initial inspection, termites in Houston will be able to find their way in. During a termite inspection, we will check your home for cracks at common entry points, and help you take the necessary measures to seal them up tight.
Termite Mud Tubes
Termites require a certain level of heat and humidity to thrive. Because subterranean termites do not build their homes in your house, they need a way to safely get from the colony to their chosen entryway. In order to do this, and maintain their ideal environment, the subterranean termites construct mud tubes. They can often be found on the side of your home, or on the foundation, and protect the termites from the elements. Sometimes, when you break open a mud tube, you may find that there is no activity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have a problem. Termites often abandon a mud tube when it proves ineffective for locating food. When you find mud tubes, with or without termite activity, it’s time to call Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators for termite treatment.
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Frass is another word for termite droppings. Subterranean termites use their frass in the construction of their tunnels, so you may not notice this sign if your Houston home if you have this particular type of termite. However, drywood termites do not use their frass in tunnel construction. As a result, you may come across wood colored pellets, or even a powdery substance, near where the termites are infesting. It can occur inside or outside of your home.
Hollow Sounding Wood
Termites prefer dark, humid environments. For this reason, they favor working on the inside of wood, instead of the exterior. Because of this, termites can go undetected for quite some time, slowly working their way through the wooden structures of your home. When you look at your walls, ceilings and floorboards, everything looks fine. However, if you rap on an area of wood that once was solid, and it suddenly sounds hollow, it’s a pretty good indication that you might have a termite problem, and it’s time to call Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators for termite control.
Why Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators for Termite Control?
Dealing with termites in your Houston home is nothing like dealing with any other household pests. You can’t just lay down traps or spray any common insecticide that you can find at your local store. These just won’t work. When it comes to termites, you need a professional. Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators are your Houston termite experts. We come to your home with the latest equipment, safe and effective chemicals and the knowledge of how to place termite treatment around your home to get rid of your termite issues, and prevent them from returning.
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Knowing the signs of termites is essential to keeping your home safe from expensive repairs. After a thorough inspection, we can confirm termite activity, identify the species, and therefore take the most effective route for termite treatment. If you notice any signs of termite activity, Contact Pest Control Houston Gulf Coast Exterminators to schedule your termite inspection today!
Termite Resources & Information
Here are more information and resources about termites online with in-depth information, news and case studies:
- All About Termites: Their Biology, Behavior and more
- Formosan Subterranean Termite In-depth Information
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them
- Termite information and facts by Texas Department of Agriculture
- Drywood Termite information by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Termites: How to Identify and Control Them